Facebook has launched a new scam-reporting tool that’ll allow UK users to report fake ads, following a defamation lawsuit.
Money saving expert Martin Lewis filed the lawsuit against the social media giant after discovering many scam advertisements featuring his picture. However, he dropped the case in January after Facebook agreed to donate £3 million to Citizens Advice, which would be used to create a new scam advert prevention project.
This new service – Citizens Advice Scams Action – will include a telephone helpline for any kind of online scam and one-to-one support for victims who have found themselves left with financial issues from being scammed. Citizens Advice says this project is expected to help at least 20,000 in its first year.
But Facebook has now stepped in to help prevent online scams by introducing a new reporting tool. There will also be a specially trained team that’ll investigate alerts or concerns brought up by the public and review reports before taking down advertisements believed to be scams.
Steve Hatch, Facebook’s northern Europe vice president, said the company had tripled its staff to 30,000 and that it would “continue to invest heavily in removing bad content from our platform”.
Mr Lewis approved greatly of the new tool, and that he hoped this would be the start of some “real improvement” to stomp out online scams.
“The UK faces an epidemic of online scam ads – they’re everywhere. Yet disgracefully there’s little effective law or regulation to prevent them, and official enforcement is poor to non-existent, as these criminals are usually based outside of the EU.”
“That’s why I sued for defamation, bizarrely the only law I could find to try to make big tech firms understand the damage their negligent behaviour has caused.
“Today should be the start of real improvement. The aim is to tap the power of what I’m dubbing ‘social policing’ to fight these scams. Millions of people know a scam when they see it, and millions of others don’t.
“So now, I’d ask all who recognise them to use the new Facebook reporting tool, to help protect those who don’t – which includes many who are vulnerable. Facebook’s dedicated team will then hopefully respond quickly to ditch the scammers.”
As well as offering counselling to scam victims, the new Citizens Advice team, will work to prevent, identify and raise awareness of online scams in the UK.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citzens Advice, stated: “We know online scams affect thousands of people every year. We’re pleased the agreement between Martin Lewis and Facebook meant we could set up this dedicated service to give more help to people who have fallen victim to online scams.”
It’s good to see this new tool on Facebook, as it’s become far too easy for online scammers to dupe users and rob them of their money through social media these days. However, one thing to always remember about certain online ads – if it’s looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: RT